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Character Rigging in Maya provides a basic introduction to rigging theory, and delves into the details of how to create professional, realistic 3D characters. Instructor and animation veteran George Maestri shows how to combine Maya's skeleton, inverse kinematics (IK), and constraint tools to create a basic rig for a character, and how to attach the character mesh to the skeleton using Maya's skinning tools. The course also explores advanced rigging controls such as IK switches and facial animation and how to create a control panel to manipulate the character's expressions. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
Now let's go ahead and actually use set-driven keys to add controls for our character's hand. Now on this rig, we have rigged it all the way up to the character's wrist. We haven't done the fingers or the thumb yet. Now if I wanted to, I could keep going, using the same techniques that we have used before, and that's just adding in control objects and using an Orient constraint to control the rotation of the fingers. But we are actually going to use a more advanced method. We are going to use the wrist as a control object.
So I am actually going to select the wrist, and under this, in addition to the Rotate controls to move the actual hand, I'm going to add controls to adjust the individual fingers. Now we can do this in a number of ways. We can create one control that just bends every joint of the finger evenly, or we can create an individual control for each joint. So in order to keep this simple, I am just going to create one control per finger and then something to spread the fingers apart.
So let's go ahead and start adding in Attributes for this wrist. We can do that under the Modify panel. We have an option here called Add Attribute. So as long as I have the left wrist selected and select Add Attribute, this menu will come up. Now what this does is it allows us to create our own custom attributes that will show up in the Channel Box. So, for example, I can create one called index finger curl, or Index_Curl, and that's a control to actually curl the index finger forward, and then all I have to do is make sure that the attribute is keyable. And what type of attribute is it? Is it a Vector? Is it a Boolean? We are going to leave this on Float.
What type is it? Is it a Scalar or is it a particle? That sort of thing. We also have Minimum and Maximum attributes. So if I want 0 to be the finger straight out and 10 to be completely curled, I can do that. And then once we have all this in, I am going to go ahead and click OK. And notice how we have a new value here that shows up. We can scroll it from 0 to 10, but it's not connected up yet. So let's go ahead and add in additional controls and then in the next lesson we will connect them up.
So again, I am going to keep the wrist selected, go Add Attribute. I am going to add in a couple of more. I am going to add one in for the middle finger to curl, and again, just that same values here, and we are going to create a minimum and a maximum of 0 and 10. If we hit the Add button, it adds it in and keeps us in this menu. So we can also do one for Pinky_Curl, again 0 to 10, Add, and one for let's say, Finger_Spread, to spread the fingers apart.
And again, with this one, we want to actually be able to push the fingers together or pull them apart. So let's do from -10 to +10, and then we can also add ones for the thumb. We could do Thumb_Bend, and thumbs also go up and down along the plane, so let's go ahead and do one called Thumb_UpDown, and again, that's kind of like a spread control. So now that we have these in place, whenever I select the wrist, I have all of these attributes that I can now use to create action on the hand.
I am going to do that using set-driven keys in the next lesson.
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